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inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #51 of 87: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sun 30 Oct 05 14:04
    
I never know if things are going to be made as movies, not even the
things that have been bought as movies, until the day someone starts
shooting.

No real thoughts on casting, no -- in my head, while I was writing it,
Fat Charlie was played by Lenny Henry, and so were Spider and Mr
Nancy, except when Mr Nancy was played by Cab Calloway.
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #52 of 87: some pipsqueak popinjay pop star (tinymonster) Sun 30 Oct 05 15:19
    
Cab Calloway -- perfect!

Hello, Neil.  It's great to see you here again!  After a few pesky
interruptions, I finally finished the book last night; great fun.

I love that you thanked the readers of your blog in the
acknowledgements.  In my turn, I had noticed that having your blog
around the last few years added a new dimension to the experience of
reading this book.  Not only could I remember your mentioning certain
parts in your journal while you were researching or writing them, but
I'd recognize certain experiences of yours in unexpected places.  (I
especially cracked up at the commentary on how comfortable coffins are,
and at the "Daddy, are you famous?" part.)

Since this post is already so long, I'll start with a short question: 
Did I catch a _The Producers_ joke at the end of the first séance?
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #53 of 87: some pipsqueak popinjay pop star (tinymonster) Sun 30 Oct 05 16:25
    
<21> -- If "far from gruntled" (a longtime favorite expression of
mine) is an example of the kind of wordplay found in Wodehouse, then I
definitely must seek this stuff out.
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #54 of 87: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Mon 31 Oct 05 14:58
    
tinymonster -- yes, you did.
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #55 of 87: Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 31 Oct 05 18:33
    
Besides reading the old Anansi stories, was there anything else you
read to get into the mood and tone of this book?

What about music?
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #56 of 87: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Mon 31 Oct 05 21:08
    
I think the music that ran somewhere in the back of this book was this
--
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000G98/104-1586203-7829511

Other things, too, but it always came back to that. 

And I read the first PG Wodehouse Blandings Castle book in the bath,
when I was starting.
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #57 of 87: Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 31 Oct 05 22:57
    
Might be the first Wodehouse/jug band novel ever.
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #58 of 87: Melodious Thunk (sjs) Tue 1 Nov 05 07:58
    
except, perhaps, for those in which Bertie picks and strums his
banjolele?

Neil -- I'm fascinated by the idea that you toyed, in your ealiest
incarnations of ANANSI BOYS, with the idea of Baltimore as a major
local.  In my mind, Baltimore is quirkily -- and lovingly -- made
popular by the likes of John Waters (movies, broadway plays and essays)
and Ann Tyler (novels).  Perhaps, also, by Poe (?).   How is it that
Baltimore figures significantly for you?
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #59 of 87: mad mouse beyond sea-Hell (miss-mousey) Tue 1 Nov 05 17:17
    
Hey there - I'm all about penguins and fun and silliness, but I just
thought of an oddly serious writing question (which is kind of funny,
because I've never thought of myself as a writer... /shrug): 

Often when a writer has an idea for a project there are certain scenes
that play out in his/her mind as being part of the story (I dunno -
let's take for example the wrong funeral scene and the karaoke scene
from Anansi Boys). I was just wondering what *you* do when you've got a
point A and a point B and you need to connect them. What's your
process? Do you just write and write and hope that you get from one
scene to the other? Do you specifically plot ways to incorporate both
scenes into the same story? Are you willing to abandon one of the
scenes if the story seems to be going another direction? What's your
process like when you find yourself in this situation?
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #60 of 87: It's all done with mirrors... (kafclown) Wed 2 Nov 05 05:47
    
And adding to the mousey-one's question:

You often hear about how the hardest thing about writing is killing your 
babies-- ie, the beautiful moments that you wrote that somehow get edited 
out, don't fit, need to be trimmed, etc.

Any babies from Anansi Boys that didn't make it into the novel?
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #61 of 87: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Wed 2 Nov 05 07:41
    
kafclown -- yes, but I put it into the back of the UK edition. (It was
a scene in which Spider escapes from the Hell of Birds.)

And there was a lovely analogy between Rosie's mum and a tyrannosaurus
rex that my editor said was over-egging the pudding...

Michelle -- well, that's how you write. You have some things that you
know and then you navigate between them -- the answer to all of your
"do you?"s is "Yes". And more....

And Baltimore -- dunno, I liked the sense of place, really. Had done
ever since I first went there to do a signing.
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #62 of 87: Melanie Hamilton (hamilton) Wed 2 Nov 05 07:45
    
Or...(trailing along behind miss-mousey and kafclown) places that with
suggestions of stories that had to wait 'til you were done?
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #63 of 87: Mary Roane (the-roane) Wed 2 Nov 05 10:23
    
Hi, Neil!

Can I ask a MirrorMask question here?  tinymonster's question about a
Producer's reference (going back to reread that tonight) reminded me
that I wanted to ask --

Did I catch a Pinky and the Brain joke in MM?  (Helena:Are you
thinking what I'm thinking?  Valentine: Yeah!  If we put little wheels
on the bottoms of our shoes, we could roll everywhere)

I laughed like an idiot both times I saw that.

Jugbands........have I mentioned this week that I adore you?

Not really a question, I guess, but I wanted to say that I *love* that
there is no assumption of caucasian-ness of the characters in Anansi
Boys.  It was so refreshing.

Question about the title--I thought that "nancy boys" was English
slang for homosexuals.  Did your UK publishers have any issues with the
title?

Hope the UK part of the tour goes well.  Happy travels!    

Mary
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #64 of 87: Not actually tofu... more like tofu-to-be (madman) Wed 2 Nov 05 11:28
    

Neil-
Probably my favorite image in Anansi Boys revolves around the lime. I've
been trying to come up with a lime flavoured question for a while now, but I
thought 'were you traumatized by a lime as a child' wouldn't really cut it.
Now, however, I am seriously wondering if the lime had any connection to the
"Smell My Lime" T-shirts.
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #65 of 87: Martha Soukup (soukup) Wed 2 Nov 05 14:26
    
Wait, are you saying that Americans are going to have to special-order
the British edition, to get the cool scene?
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #66 of 87: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Wed 2 Nov 05 17:57
    
Mary: a) Yes. b) No.

Madman: Possibly sitting at the back of my head. When it happened to
me, it was a nutmeg, but somehow limes are funnier and more imposing,
and few people know what a nutmeg looks like.

Martha: Well, I suppose so, yes.  
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #67 of 87: Not actually tofu... more like tofu-to-be (madman) Wed 2 Nov 05 23:13
    

(I would have found a nutmeg to be terribly funny, but then, I'm from
Connecticut, which is the Nutmeg State for reasons that don't make a whole
lot of sense.)
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #68 of 87: Resurrecting my inner pop star (tinymonster) Thu 3 Nov 05 19:25
    
<61> & <65-66> -- Yet another instance where you have to become a
Collector when you just wanted to be a reader.  Bah.

<67> -- I spent most of my life in Connecticut, and I _still_ don't
know what a nutmeg looks like.  Now I'm kind of curious.

Erm, OK, legitimate question in next post.  (This
not-being-able-to-post-from-work is _tough_....)
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #69 of 87: "Fat Charlie the archangel walks through the room" (or something like that) -- Paul Simon (tinymonster) Thu 3 Nov 05 19:45
    
Neil, as someone who instantly recognized herself when Fat Charlie
started singing at his desk more or less "because he forgot not to," I
loved the interaction between song and magic throughout the book --
literally, from the first sentence to the last.  Of course I thought of
Aslan singing Narnia into existence, but I realize the idea is much
older than that.  I also know that you're a pretty darn good songwriter
yourself.  (Oh, the questions I could ask you about that... but that's
too far off-topic for here.)

Would you talk a little about the importance of song in the book, and
some of the things that influenced you to make it such an essential
part of the story?
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #70 of 87: Daniel (dfowlkes) Fri 4 Nov 05 03:34
    <scribbled by dfowlkes Tue 3 Jul 12 10:14>
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #71 of 87: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Fri 4 Nov 05 07:56
    
Dan -- if I think there's any chance I'll forget something, I write it
down. I've found poems and outlines of short stories waiting for me I
have no memory of, so it works. But I don't like outlining, so tend to
keep it to a minimum. I'm not very good at not thinking about stuff I'm
working on while I'm not working on it. Sometimes the best thing is
long drives or walks to clear my head and focus on it...

Christy --  I'm not sure. It seemed like something that the story was
about in some way, and it kept going back there. I like the idea of
songs great and songs small, all being part of it. And yes, it's Aslan
and it's the Australian Songlines and it's karaoke and it's signing in
the shower and it's getting up and singing in front of audiences...
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #72 of 87: from DANA VRAJITORU (tnf) Fri 4 Nov 05 10:18
    


Dana Vrajitoru writes:

A remark based on Christy's question, the image of each of us being defined
by a song is one of the things I liked the most in the text. I know that
we're not supposed to believe in what you write, but this was a nice metaphor
for something that I think is true. I'm one of those people who can't live
without music and I was glad to see how much music was present in the book.

Question: I've read many of the reviews of Anansi Boys in the media and I'm
kind of dissapointed with them. There's two themes in these reviews, either
doing a too detailed account of what the book is about (I'd prefer to find
opinions instead), or an exercise of how many connections they can find to
anything else anyone else ever did. Is there anything you look for when you
read a review? And were you given any review guidelines when you were working
as a journalist yourself?

Ok, and this is the last thing, I loved the dragon scared of nothing joke, it
was so silly and funny and smart, it just made my day!
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #73 of 87: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 4 Nov 05 10:37
    
Ooh, I love the idea of guidelines (from writers!) for reviewer!  (Sitting
in the wings in appreciative anticipation)
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #74 of 87: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 4 Nov 05 14:26
    

I'm loving this whole conversation, and I'm sorry to see that the two week
scheduled run of this discussion has run its course. Our virtual spotlight
has turned to a new author, but that doesn't mean conversation here has to
stop. The topic will remain open indefinitely, so if Neil as able to stick
around longer, that'd be great.

Thanks for joining us, Neil! And thank you, Martha, for being such a great
moderator.
  
inkwell.vue.257 : Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"
permalink #75 of 87: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 5 Nov 05 00:08
    
It's not easy to be a great reviewer.  I'm waiting to hear what Neil
thinks makes one, too!
  

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